The Washington Times - September 4, 2008, 03:07PM

Drilling - into records or land

Former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele defended Gov. Sarah Palin’s slam on her opponents’ days as a community organizer in her speech Wednesday.


The Republican vice presidential nominee sarcastically said there is little reponsbility with such a job.
“It’s perfectly appropriate to question that service when they denigrate her two terms as mayor of a ‘small town,’” Mr. Steele said.

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He said community organizers, while in an important job, are likely to question themselves on whether their experience will lend itself for the presidency.

“Does it qualify me to leave my job today and qualify me to run for president tomorrow?’” he asked.
Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama, frequently refers to his time as a community organizer in Chicago.

 “And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves,” Mrs. Palin said. “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities.”

Mr. Steele is also basking in the glow of a successful one-liner. His line from Wednesday’s speech has become a sensation.

“Let me make it very clear. Drill, baby, drill, and drill now.”

He said the line came to him as he was writing his speech and trying to boil down the imperative to expand energy production, and couldn’t figure it out.

“I just felt like something here has got to go to sum this up,” he said. “I thought, drill, baby, just drill.”

The audience loved it — and started chanting it repeatedly, not only back at him, but back at any other speaker who called for more oil drilling.

It’s maybe even more catchy that the simple “No car tax” slogan that carried Jim Gilmore to a gubernatorial victory in Virginia in 1997. The t-shirts and bumper stickers can’t be far behind.

So has Steele trademarked the phrase?

“I’m about to. I’ve got to.”

-Jennifer Haberkorn and Stephen Dinan, reporters